Alice Plaza: no plans to front the street

By KIERAN FINNANE

 

Will the Todd Street North side of the Alice Plaza open its doors onto the street following the revitalisation works recently completed there? This was one of the expressed hopes behind the works but it seems that the short answer is no.

 

There are big plans afoot for the present disheartening empty tenancies at the northern end (right, at about 2pm yesterday), but they don’t include fronting onto the street. Property manager Tony Bowes says “very confidential” negotiations are underway to combine a few shopfronts at that end into “one big lease”.

 

The plans also involve moving an existing tenancy from its present location to elsewhere within the Plaza. Mr Bowes declined to say what kind of a business the big lease would operate.

 

Inside, he hopes a “possible leisure / lifestyle” business will open in the premises where the music retailer Leading Edge used to be.

 

Plans for the important corner lease looking onto the intersection of Todd and Parsons Street have fallen over due to “red tape”, says Mr Bowes. “We couldn’t get past council on it,” he says, declining to be more specific. “We’re moving on.”

 

A possible cafe on the site is ruled out, he says. “At this stage”, the property can’t provide on that side the kind of facilities needed for a food service business.

 

Has the redesign work outside, with its aim of breathing new life into the area including by opening the street to two way traffic, had any impact on the Alice Plaza?

 

“Nothing noticeable,” he says, “but I believe it is a positive thing.”

 

I put to him an idea I have heard discussed, that is, redesigning the tenancies on the Todd Street side so that they are long and shallow, rather than narrow-fronted and deep, with one opening onto the street, and the other onto the interior.

 

He says he has never heard of such a proposal and that it would require a great deal of redevelopment.

 

Given the significant public investment ($5m to date) in the revitalisation work, does the Plaza have a responsibility to respond?

 

“I can’t comment,” says Mr Bowes.

 

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5 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Peter Hoey
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    There have been two changes. The mall looks ‘nicer’for being spruced up and secondly one now has the possibility of being run over by two way traffic. Otherwise it’s the same old same old, no discernible improvement for business or customers.

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  2. melanie ross
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:26 am

    How disappointing that we can’t have cafes in that space. Al fresco dining, somewhere to sit and have a coffee and nibble. Ironic that we can have a pub that turns drinkers out into the mall, but not a café that would improve the amenity there no end.
    C’mon town council surely there’s a way to make this happen. Mayor Ryan, surely there’s something to be done here. Council is supposed to help, not hinder, much needed development in our town.

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  3. Tony
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Grease traps are required for food tenancies. The Plaza would need to install grease traps under ground on council land. The council have said no-can-do. That is one reason no foodies on the east side at present.

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  4. Hal Duell
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Todd St North does have one important function: It serves as a rations depot for a percentage of residents and visitors in Alice Springs. Just travel down it on most any weekday after the banks open to see what I mean.
    It’s a pity that the management of Alice Plaza can’t see their way to provide food outlets on the eastern side.
    That could improve the street scene as some of them might open out to alfresco dining. Also, planter boxes on the upper storey would give the eastern wall a hanging garden look.
    I wonder what the issue between the Plaza and the Town Council was.

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  5. Sue
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Walking down the northern end of the Mall a tourist asked me “what is that alley-way”? That’s exactly what it looks like – no shops, no business, no mall … simple.

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